NHL Buzz: Hamonic reports to Vancouver, will join Canucks AHL affiliate

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2021-22 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 

Vancouver Canucks

Travis Hamonic has reported to Vancouver after missing the start of the season for personal reasons. The defenseman will join Abbotsford of the American Hockey League in the coming days, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said.

The Canucks granted Hamonic a temporary leave of absence Oct. 18, mutually agreed upon to “give Travis time as he works through his personal matters.”

Hamonic, who signed a two-year contract July 28, missed training camp and the preseason. Benning said on the eve of the regular season that the plan was for the 31-year-old to skate with the AHL team to get ready to join the Canucks. 

“It’s going to take some time for him to skate and be ready,” Benning said Oct 11. — Kevin Woodley

 

Chicago Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol by the Blackhawks on Tuesday.

The center is one of five Chicago players in protocol, joining forwards Patrick Kane, Henrik Borgstrom and Jujhar Khaira, and defenseman Riley Stillman.

Coaches Mark Crawford, Tomas Mitell and Jimmy Waite are also in protocol.

The Blackhawks host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN1, NBCSCH, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby is “a whole lot closer” to returning to the lineup but did not play in a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

The center, recovering from wrist surgery Sept. 8, participated in a third straight practice Tuesday. The Penguins captain missed a sixth straight game to start the season. 

“Obviously we want to get Sid in the lineup as quickly as we possibly can,” coach Mike Sullivan said Monday. “He’s that much of a difference-maker for us. But we also want to make sure that we do it in a safe manner. That’s an important aspect of it as well. We’ll rely and trust on our medical team.” 

Crosby took part in an optional skate Tuesday and was the center on a line with left wing Jason Zucker and right wing Danton Heinen during rushes Monday. He also worked with the second power-play unit. 

Evan Rodrigues remained in Crosby’s normal spot at first-line center, with left wing Jake Guentzel and right wing Kasperi Kapanen.

In addition to Crosby, the Penguins remain without forwards Evgeni Malkin, Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust, and defenseman Kris Letang.

Malkin and Rust skated before practice Monday. Malkin, usually the second-line center, is expected to be out until at least December after having knee surgery June 4. Rust, normally the right wing on the first line, is week to week with a lower-body injury sustained Oct. 14. 

Carter and Letang are in NHL COVID-19 protocol. Carter had been the center on the first line with Crosby and Malkin sidelined. When available, Letang plays on the top defense pair. — Wes Crosby

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